Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quantified Self Uplevels to Quality of Life

The quantified self movement has barely gotten going in the last five years but contemporary shifts can already be seen such as the idea that the current activity is just an intermediary node on the way to the future exoself.

The quantified self refers to any individual engaged in the self-tracking of biological, physical, behavioral, or environmental information, often with a proactive stance towards action. At the center of the quantified self movement is, appropriately, the Quantified Self community with thousands of worldwide participants.

Quality of Life
A key contemporary shift is a push beyond the basic self-tracking of ‘steps walked’ and ‘hours slept’ to examine more complex qualitative phenomena like emotion, happiness, and productivity. The overall objective is to improve the quality of life.

One example of improving the quality of life is by using ‘calming technologies’ to reduce stress. Whereas technology generally seems to speed things up, calming technologies do the opposite, helping to slow down and de-stress life.

The Calming Technology Lab at Stanford designs solutions to identify stressors, and respond to them by evoking a state of restful alertness in the individual. Calming technologies draw on the general principles of behavior design, where three aspects are required to produce a behavior change: sufficient motivation, sufficient ability, and a trigger. Calming technology is essentially a quantified personal stress management system.

Core Calming Principles
The CalmingTech lab has suggested ten core design principles to use in creating calming technologies, including reducing feelings of overwhelm, and having the ability to control interruptions. 

NewTech, ArtTech, CalmingTech…what could be next? HumorTech? SerendipityTech? 

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